Across the generations family comes first

Across the generations family comes first

Media Release — 1 December 2016

Australians believe that parents and their adult children have an obligation to support each other practically and financially, according to research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The Institute’s Director, Anne Hollonds said Australians support allowing adult children to live in the family home, but are less inclined to have ageing parents come to live with the family.

Ms Hollonds said the research found 60 per cent of Australians believe that parents should provide financial support to their adult children if they are in difficulty.

And if the situation was reversed, 64 per cent of Australians say that adult children should return the favour and provide financial support to their parents ithey are in need.

“Australian families acknowledge they have responsibilities to help older and younger generations with financial assistance and even a place to live in some circumstances,” Ms Hollonds said.

“Older people’s relative wealth and extended years of good health suggest many have an increased capacity to support their adult children in financial and practical ways.

“This inter-generational exchange of time and resources appears to be happening in line with the changing needs of young adults. More young adults are remaining or returning to the parental home to pursue educational opportunities and many grandparents are caring for grandchildren on a weekly basis.”

Ms Hollonds said 63 per cent of Australians believe that parents should allow adult children to live with them if they need a roof over their heads.

“Within families there’s a recognition that intergenerational support is a two way street – both for young people finding their feet but also for older family members who are becoming frail and in need of informal care,” she said.

“However that obligation does not extend to widespread support for adult children having their ageing parents come to live with them.

“Less than half of the study respondents agreed that adult children should let ageing parents live with them in cases of need.

“Older people themselves were also squarely against the idea, with the over 65s the least in favour of ageing parents having to live in the homes of their adult children.

The study confirmed stronger commitment to inter-generational support among Australians who were born overseas.

“Migrants from non-English speaking countries especially tend to place more reliance on family support than help from outside agencies. Sixty-five per cent of this group said that adult children should let their ageing parents live with them if they need to.”

Read Australian Family Trends No. 11: Attitudes towards intergenerational support

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